Montreal police street checks defund disarm

SPVM Chief Sylvain Caron

Montreal police adjust policy on street checks amid calls to defund SPVM

Many have called for a ban on street checks. This is not that.

Amid calls to defund and disarm the SPVM, Montreal police have announced a new policy for street checks, part of an effort to eradicate racial profiling. A recent report found that Black, Arab and Indigenous people in Montreal are far more likely to be stopped by police, and though Montreal city council and local Black community groups have called for a complete stop to street checks, the SPVM maintains that they are too important to be banned outright.

As reported by the CBC, the new rules for street checks require police to inform the person of the reason why they’re being stopped, and to record the information gathered, including the perceived race or ethnicity of the person. The person who has been stopped will not be required to identify themselves or answer questions, and they can supposedly walk away at any time without ramifications.

Montreal police adjust policy on street checks amid calls to defund and disarm SPVM

From now on, SPVM Chief Sylvain Caron said in a press conference on Wednesday, street checks will be based on observable facts and not “discriminatory motives.” According to the new policy on street checks, Montreal police can stop people for the following reasons:

• To help someone in need.
• To issue warnings to people violating municipal bylaws.
• To prevent a crime or infractions.
• To collect information in line with the SPVM’s mission, which is “to protect the lives and property of citizens, maintain peace and public safety, prevent and combat crime, and enforce current laws and regulations.”
• To identify someone who is sought after, such as a missing person or someone who is subject to an arrest warrant.

Defund the Police Coalition Montreal

Meanwhile, the new Defund the Police Coalition held a press conference in Nelson Mandela Park in Montreal on Tuesday. According to CTV News, their plan calls for cutting the police budget in half, disarming officers, decriminalizing sex work and reinvesting in community organizations. The coalition is made up of members of 21 Montreal community organizations including Black Lives Matter Montreal, Hoodstock, the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal and Stella Montreal. ■

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